Why Soybeans Are Two Different Animals

November 25, 2013 09:00 AM
Why Soybeans Are Two Different Animals

Determining what to do with soybeans can be tricky business, experts tell the U.S. Farm Report Market Roundtable. On the one hand, there is great opportunity. On the other hand, the prospect of a big 2014 crop means the price outlook might be very different in a year.

"Beans are kind of two animals, the way I look at it," says Brian Roach, Roach Ag. Marketing, Ltd. "When you look at the old crop, I think there’s going to be plenty of opportunities to sell beans at levels that farmers enjoy. We’re coming up here on another window to sell $13 cash beans out of the bin, and I think that’s a pretty simple one to look at. The trickier one here is the new crop and what’s going to happen with South America."

First, there continue to be infrastructure challenges limiting South America’s ability to ship the crop to buyers such as China. The situation hasn’t improved much. Second, it has an impressive capacity for soybean production year after year.

"We have a big crop coming, their summer growing season is really January, February. How does that really look?" Roach says. "Because if you look at last year for comparisons, once that crop down there was made and we were comfortable that the numbers were going to be no surprises, beans dropped $1.50 from February into April and then rallied on U.S. weather that was problematic later on in the year. The tricky part here is to get beans sold at levels that farmers can make money and not miss that window."

What makes that an even greater challenge is the possibility of an unprecedented U.S. soybean crop.

"There are indications that we’re going to plant a record amount of beans here in the U.S. next spring," says Brian Basting, Advance Trading, Inc. "I’m not sure I’m quite in the camp of some of the other estimates that are as high as they are, but I think there is going to be some switch from corn into beans next spring, and I do think we’re going to plant a record amount of bean acreage next spring. You pile that on top of what could be the largest bean crop ever in South America, and a year from now we could be looking at significantly lower bean prices."

Click the play button below to watch the complete U.S. Farm Report Market Roundtable:

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